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Blanc, Mel

BLANC, Mel



Voice Artist. Nationality: American. Born: Melvin Jérome Blank in San Francisco, California, 30 May 1908; raised in Portland, Oregon. Family: Married Estelle Rosenberg, 1933; son: Noel. Career: 1927—sang on radio show The Hoot Owls with his wife; wrote and produced and performed all characters in the daily show Cobwebs and Nuts; 1928—played bass and violin in San Francisco's NBC Radio Orchestra; 1937—began voice characterization for Warners' Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes cartoons, including Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck; regular performer on The Jack Benny Show; 1961—serious car accident. Television work included the voice of Barney Rubble in the Flintstones, Mr. Spacely in The Jetsons and Twiki in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Died: Of heart disease, Los Angeles, California, 10 July 1989.


Films as Voice Artist for Warner Bros.:

1937

Porky the Wrestler; Porky's Road Race; Picador Porky; Porky's Romance; Porky's Duck Hunt; Porky and Gabby; Porky's Building; Porky's Super Service; Porky's Badtime Story; Porky's Railroad; Get Rich Quick Porky; Porky's Garden; Rover's Rival; The Case of the Stuttering Pig; Porky's Double Trouble; Porky's Hero Agency

1938

Daffy Duck and Egghead; Porky's Poppa; Porky at the Crocadero; What Price Porky; Porky's Phoney Express; Porky's Five and Ten; Porky's Hare Hunt; Injun Trouble; Porky the Fireman; Porky's Party; Porky's Spring Planting; Porky and Daffy; Wholly Smoke; Porky in Wackyland; Porky's Naughty Nephew; Porky in Egypt; The Daffy Doc; Daffy Duck in Hollywood; Porky the Gob

1939

The Lone Stranger and Porky; It's an Ill Wind; Porky's Tire Trouble; Porky's Movie Mystery; Prest-O Change-O;Chicken Jitters; Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur; Porky and Teabiscuit; Kristopher Kolumbus, Jr.; Polar Pals; Scalp Trouble; Old Glory; Porky's Picnic; Wise Quacks; Hare-Um Scare-Um; Porky's Hotel; Jeepers Creepers; Naughty Neighbors; Pied Piper Porky; Porky the Giant Killer; The Film Fan

1940

Porky's Last Stand; The Early Worm Gets the Bird; Africa Squeaks; Mighty Hunters; Ali Baba Bound; Busy Bakers; Elmer's Candid Camera; Pilgrim Porky; Cross Country Doctors; Confederate Honey; Slap Happy Pappy; The Bear's Tale; The Hardship of Miles Standish; Porky's Poor Fish; Sniffles Takes a Trip; You Ought to Be in Pictures; A Gander at Mother Goose; The Chewin' Bruin; Tom Thumb in Trouble; Circus Today; Porky's Baseball Broadcast; Little Blabbermouse; The Egg Collector; A Wild Hare; Ghost Wanted; Patient Porky; Ceiling Hero; Malibu Beach Party; Calling Dr. Porky; Stage Fright; Prehistoric Porky; Holiday Highlights; Good Night Elmer; The Sour Puss; Wacky Wildlife; Bedtime for Sniffles; Porky's Hired Hand; Of Fox and Hounds; The Timid Toreador; Shop, Look and Listen

1941

Elmer's Pet Rabbit; Porky's Snooze Reel; The Fighting 69½th; Sniffles Bells the Cat; The Haunted Mouse; The Crackpot Quail; The Cat's Tale; Joe Glow the Firefly; Tortoise Beats Hare; Porky's Bear Facts; Goofy Groceries; Toy Trouble; Porky's Preview; The Trial of Mr. Wolf; Porky's Ant; Farm Frolics; Hollywood Steps Out; A Coy Decoy; Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt; Porky's Prize Pony; The Wacky Worm; Meet John Doughboy; The Heckling Hare; Inki and the Lion; Aviation Vacation; We, the Animals, Squeak; Sport Champions; The Henpecked Duck; Snow Time for Comedy; All This and Rabbit Stew; Notes to You; The Brave Little Bat; The Bug Parade; Robinson Crusoe, Jr.; Rookie Revue; Saddle Silly; The Cagey Canary; Porky's Midnight Matinee; Rhapsody in Rivets; Wabbit Twouble; Porky's Pooch

1942

Hop, Skip and a Chump; Porky's Pastry Pirates; The Bird Came C.O.D.; Aloha Hooey; Who's Who in the Zoo; Porky's Cafe; Conrad the Sailor; Crazy Cruise; The Wabbit Who Came to Supper; Saps in Chaps; Horton Hatches the Egg; Dog Tired; Daffy's Southern Exposure; The Wacky Wabbit; The Draft Horse; Nutty News; Lights Fantastic; Hobby Horse Laffs; Hold the Lion, Please; Gopher Goofy; Double Chaser; Wacky Blackouts; Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid; Foney Fables; The Ducktators; The Squawkin' Hawk; Eatin' on the Cuff; Fresh Hare; The Impatient Patient; Fox Pop; The Dover Boys; The Hep Cat; The Sheepish Wolf; The Daffy Duckaroo; The Hare-Brained Hypnotist; A Tale of Two Kitties; My Favorite Duck; Ding Dog Daddy; Case of the Missing Hare

1943

Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs; Confessions of a Nutzy Spy; Pigs in a Polka; Tortoise Wins by a Hare; Fifth Column Mouse; To Duck or Not to Duck; Flop Goes the Weasel; Hop and Go; Super Rabbit; The Unbearable Bear; The Wise Quacking Duck; Greetings Bait; Tokio Jokio; Jack-Wabbit and the Beanstalk; The Aristo-Cat; Yankee Doodle Daffy; Wackiki Wabbit; Tin Pan Alley Cats; Porky Pig's Feat; Scrap Happy Daffy; Hiss and Make Up; A Corny Concerto; Fin 'n' Catty; Falling Hare; Inki and the Minah Bird; Daffy the Commando; An Itch in Time; Puss 'n' Booty

1944

Little Red Riding Rabbit; What's Cookin', Doc?; Meatless Flyday; Tom Turk and Daffy; Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears; I Got Plenty of Mutton; The Weakly Reporter; Tick Tock Tuckered; Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips; The Swooner Crooner; Russian Rhapsody; Duck Soup to Nuts; Angel Puss; Slightly Daffy; Hare Ribbin'; Brother Brat; Hare Force; From Hand to Mouse; Birdy and the Beast; Buckaroo Bugs; Goldilocks and the Jivin' Bears; Plane Daffy; Lost and Foundling; Booby Hatched; The Old Grey Hare; The Stupid Cupid; Stage Door Cartoon

1945

Odor-able Kitty; Herr Meets Hare; Draftee Daffy; The Unruly Hare; Trap Happy Porky; Life with Feathers; Behind the Meat Ball; Hare Trigger; Ain't That Ducky; A Gruesome Twosome; A Tale of Two Mice; Wagon Heels; Hare Conditioned; Fresh Airedale; The Bashful Buzzard; Peck Up Your Troubles; Hare Tonic; Nasty Quacks

1946

Book Revue; Baseball Bugs; Holiday for Shoestrings; Quentin Quail; Baby Bottleneck; Hare Remover; Daffy Doodles; Hollywood Canine Canteen; Hush My Mouse; Hair-Raising Hare; Kitty Kornered; Hollywood Daffy; Acrobatty Bunny; The Eager Beaver; The Great Piggy Bank Robbery; Bacall to Arms; Of Thee I Sting; Walky Talky Hawky; Racketeer Rabbit; Fair and Worm-er; The Big Snooze; The Mouse-merized Cat; Mouse Menace; Rhapsody Rabbit; Roughly Squeaking

1947

One Meat Brawl; The Goofy Gophers; The Gay Anties; Scentimental Over You; A Hare Grows in Manhattan; The Birth of a Notion; Tweetie Pie; Rabbit Transit; Hobo Bobo; Along Came Daffy; Inki At the Circus; Easter Yeggs; Crowing Pains; A Pest in the House; The Foxy Duckling; House Hunting Mice; Little Orphan Airedale; Doggone Cats; Slick Hare; Mexican Joyride; Catch As Cats Can; A Horsefly Fleas

1948

Gorilla My Dreams; Two Gophers from Texas; A Feather in His Hare; What Makes Daffy Duck; What's Brewin', Bruin?; Daffy Duck Slept Here; A Hick, a Slick and a Chick; Back Alley Oproar; I Taw a Putty Tat; Rabbit Punch; Hop, Look and Listen; Nothing But the Tooth; Buccaneer Bunny; Bone, Sweet Bone; Bugs Bunny Rides Again; The Rattled Rooster; The Upstanding Sitter; The Shell Shocked Egg; Haredevil Hare; You Were Never Duckier; Dough Ray Meow; Hot Cross Bunny; The Pest That Came to Dinner; Hare Splitter; Odor of the Day; The Foghorn Leghorn; A Lad in His Lamp; Daffy Dilly; Kit for Kat; The Stupor Salesman; Riff Raffy Daffy; My Bunny Lies over the Sea; Scaredy Cat

1949

Wise Quackers; Hare Do; Holiday for Drumsticks; The Awful Orphan; Porky Chops; Mississippi Hare; Paying the Piper; Daffy Duck Hunt; Rebel Rabbit; Mouse Wreckers; High Diving Hare; The Bee-devilled Bruin; Curtain Razor; Bowery Bugs; Mouse Mazurka; Long-haired Hare; Henhouse Henry; Knights Must Fall; Bad Ol' Putty Tat; The Greyhound Hare; Often an Orphan; The Windblown Hare; Dough for the Do-do; Fast and Furry-ous; Each Dawn I Crow; Frigid Hare; Swallow the Leader; Bye Bye Bluebeard; For Scentimental Reasons; Hippety Hopper; Which Is Witch?; Bear Feat; Rabbit Hood; A Ham in a Role

1950

Home Tweet Home; Hurdy Gurdy Hare; Boobs in the Woods; Mutiny on the Bunny; The Lion's Busy; The Scarlet Pumpernickel; Homeless Hare; Strife with Father; The Hypochondri-Cat; Big House Bunny; The Leghorn Blowsat Midnight; His Bitter Half; An Egg Scramble; What's Up, Doc?; All Abir-r-rd; 8 Ball Bunny; It's Hummer Time; Golden Yeggs; Hillbilly Hare; Dog Gone South; The Ducksters; A Fractured Leghorn; Bunker Hill Bunny; Canary Row; Stooge for a Mouse; Pop 'im Pop; Bushy Hare; Caveman Inki; Dog Collared; Rabbit of Seville; Two's a Crowd

1951

Hare We Go; A Fox in a Fix; Canned Feud; Rabbit Every Monday; Putty Tat Trouble; Corn Plastered; Bunny Hugged; Scent-imental Romeo; A Bone for a Bone; Fair-haired Hare; A Hound for Trouble; Early to Bet; Rabbit Fire; Room and Bird; Chow Hound; French Rabbit; The Wearing of the Grin; Leghorn Swoggled; His Hare Raising Tale; Cheese Chasers; Lovelorn Leghorn; Tweety's S.O.S.; Ballot Box Bunny; A Bear for Punishment; Sleepy Time Possum; Drip-Along Daffy; Tweet, Tweet, Tweety; The Prize Pest

1952

Who's Kitten Who?; Operation: Rabbit; Feed the Kitty; Gift Wrapped; Foxy by Proxy; Thumb Fun; 4 Carrot Rabbit; Little Beau Pepe; Kiddin' the Kitten; Water, Water Every Hare; Little Red Rodent Hood; Sock a Doodle Doo; Beep, Beep; Hasty Hare; Ain't She Tweet; The Turn-Tale Wolf; Cracked Quack; Oily Hare; Hoppy Go Lucky; Going! Going! Gosh!; Bird in a Guilty Cage; Mouse Warming; Rabbit Seasoning; The Egg-cited Rooster; Tree for Two; The Super Snooper; Rabbit's Kin; Terrier Stricken; Fool Coverage; Hare Lift

1953

Don't Give Up the Sheep; Snow Business; A Mouse Divided; Forward March Hare; Kiss Me Cat; Duck Amuck; Upswept Hare; A Peck 'o' Trouble; Fowl Weather; Muscle Tussle; Southern Fried Rabbit; Ant Pasted; Much Ado about Nutting; There Auto Be a Law; Hare Trimmed; Tom-Tom Tomcat; Wild over You; Duck Dodgers in the 241/2th Century; Bully for Bugs; Plop Goes the Weasel; Cat-Tails for Two; A Street Cat Named Sylvester; Zipping Along; Duck! Rabbit! Duck; Easy Peckin's; Catty Cornered; Of Rice and Hen; Cats Aweigh; Robot Rabbit; Punch Trunk

1954

Dog Pounded; Captain Hareblower; I Gopher You; Feline Frame-Up; Wild Wife; No Barking; Bugs and Thugs; The Cat's Bah; Design for Leaving; Bell Hoppy; No Parking Hare; Doctor Jerkyll's Hide; Claws for Alarm; Little Boy Boo; Devil May Hare; Muzzle Tough; The Oily American; Bewitched Bunny; Satan's Waitin'; Stop, Look and Hasten; Yankee Doodle Bugs; Gone Batty; Goo Goo Goliath; By Word of Mouse; From A to Z-Z-Z; Quack Shot; Lumber Jack Rabbit; My Little Duckaroo; Sheep Ahoy; Baby Buggy Bunny

1955

Pizzicato Pussycat; Feather Duster; Pests for Guests; Beanstalk Bunny; All Fowled Up; Stork Naked; Lighthouse Mouse; Sahara Hare; Sandy Claws; The Hole Idea; Ready, Set, Zoom!; Hare Brush; Past Perfumance; Tweety's Circus; Rabbit Rampage; Lumber Jerks; This Is a Life?; Double or Mutton; Jumpin' Jupiter; A Kiddie's Kitty; Hyde and Hare; Dime to Retire; Speedy Gonzales; Knight-mare Hare; Two Scents Worth; Red Riding Hoodwinked; Roman Legion Hare; Heir Conditioned; Guided Muscle; Pappy's Puppy; One Froggy Evening

1956

Bugs Bonnets; Too Hop to Handle; Weasel Stop; The High and the Flighty; Broomstick Bunny; Rocket Squad; Tweet and Sour; Heaven Scent; Mixed Master; Rabbitson Crusoe; Gee Whiz-z-z; Tree Cornered Tweety; The Unexpected Pest; Napoleon Bunny-Part; Tugboat Granny; Stupor Duck; Barbary Coast Bunny; Rocket Bye Baby; Half-fare Hare; Raw! Raw! Rooster; Slap-Happy Mouse; A Star Is Bored; Deduce, You Say; Yankee Dood It; Wideo Wabbit; There They Go-Go-Go; Two Crows from Tacos; The Honeymousers; To Hare Is Human

1957

The Three Little Bops; Tweet Zoo; Scrambled Aches; Ali Baba Bunny; Go Fly a Kit; Tweety and the Beanstalk; Bedevilled Rabbit; Boyhood Daze; Cheese It, the Cat; Fox Terror; Piker's Peak; Steal Wool; Boston Quackie; What's Opera, Doc?; Tobasco Road; Birds Anonymous; Ducking the Devil; Bugsy and Mugsy; Zoom and Bored; Greedy for Tweety; Touché and Go; Show Biz Bugs; Mouse-taken Identity; Gonzales' Tamales; Rabbit Romeo

1958

Don't Axe Me; Tortilla Flaps; Hare-less Wolf; A Pizza Tweety Pie; Robin Hood Daffy; Hare-way to the Stars; Whoa, Be Gone; A Waggily Tale; Feather Bluster; Now Hare This; To Itch His Own; Dog Tales; Knighty Night Bugs; Weasel While You Work; A Bird in a Bonnet; Hook, Line and Stinker; Pre-hysterical Hare; Gopher Broke; Hip, Hip—Hurry!; Cat Feud

1959

Baton Bunny; Mouse Placed Kitten; China Jones; Hare-abian Nights; Trick or Tweet; The Mouse That Jack Built; Apes of Wrath; Hot Rod and Reel; A Mutt in a Rut; Backwoods Bunny; Really Scent; Mexicali Shmoes; Tweet and Lovely; Wild and Wooly Hare; The Cat's Paw; Here Today, Gone Tamale; Bonanza Bunny; A Broken Leghorn; Wild About Hurry; A Witch's Tangled Hare; Unnatural Hare; Tweet Dreams; People Are Bunny

1960

Fastest with the Mostest; West of the Pesos; Horse Hare; Wild Wild World; Goldimouse and the Three Cats; Person to Bunny; Who Scent You?; Hyde and Go Tweet; Rabbit's Feat; Crockett-Doodle-Do; Mouse and Garden; Ready, Woolen and Able; Mice Follies; From Hare to Heir; The Dixie Fryer; Hopalong Casualty; Trip for Tat; Doggone People; High Note; Lighter Than Hare

1961

Cannery Woe; Zip 'n' Snort; Hoppy Daze; The Mouse on 57th Street; Strangled Eggs; Birds of a Father; D' Fightin' Ones; The Abominable Snow Rabbit; Lickety Splat; A Scent of the Matterhorn; The Rebel without Claws; Compressed Hare; The Pied Piper of Guadalupe; Prince Violent; Daffy's Inn Trouble; What's My Lion; Beep Prepared; The Last Hungry Cat; Nelly's Folly

1962

Wet Hare; A Sheep in the Deep; Fish and Slips; Quackodile Tears; Crow's Feat; Mexican Boarders; Bill of Hare; Zoom at the Top; The Slick Chick; Louvre Come Back to Me; Honey's Money; The Jet Cage; Mother Was a Rooster; Good Noose; Shishkabugs; Martian Through Georgia

1963

Devil's Feud Cake; Fast Buck Duck; The Million-Hare; Mexican Cat Dance; Now Hear This; Woolen Under Where; Hare-breadth Hurry; Banty Raids; Chili Weather; The Unmentionables; Aqua Duck; Mad As a Mars Hare; Claws in the Lease; Transylvania 6–5000; To Beep or Not to Beep

1964

Dumb Patrol; A Message to Gracias; Bartholomew versus the Wheel; Freudy Cat; Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare; Nuts and Volts; The Iceman Ducketh; War and Pieces; Hawaiian Aye Aye; False Hare; Senorella and the Glass Huarache; Pancho's Hideaway; Road to Andalay


1965

It's Nice to Have a Mouse around the House; Cats and Bruises; The Wild Chase; Moby Duck; Assault and Peppered; Well Worn Daffy; Suppressed Duck; Corn on the Cop; Rushing Roulette; Run, Run Sweet Road Runner; Tease for Two; Tired and Feathered; Boulder Wham; Chili Con Corny; Just Plane Beep; Harried and Hurried; Go Go Amigo; Highway Runnery; Chaser on the Rocks

1966

Astroduck; Shot and Bothered; Mucho Locos; Mexican Mousepiece; The Solid Tin Coyote; Out and Out Rout; Daffy Rents; Clippety Clobbered; A Haunting We Will Go; Snow Excuse; A Squeak in the Deep; Feather Finger; Swing Ding Amigo; Sugar and Spies; A Taste of Catnip

1967

Daffy's Diner; The Quacker Tracker; The Music Mice-Tro; The Spy Swatter; Speedy Ghost to Town; Rodent to Stardom; Go Away Stowaway; Cool Cat; Merlin the Magic Mouse; Fiesta Fiasco

1968

Hocus Pocus Powwow; Norman Normal; Big Game Haunt; Skyscraper Caper; Hippydrome Tiger; A Feud with a Dude; The Door; See Ya Later Gladiator; 3-Ring Wing-Ding; Flying Circus; Bunny and Claude; Chimp and Zee

1969

The Great Carrot Train Robbery; Fistic Mystic; Rabbit Stews and Rabbits Too; Shamrock and Roll; Bugged by a Bee; Injun Trouble

1988

The Duxorcist



Other Films as Voice Artist/Actor:

1940

Pinocchio (Disney)

1949

Neptune's Daughter (Buzzell)

1964

Kiss Me Stupid (Wilder)

1986

Heathcliff: The Movie (Bianchi); Howard the Duck (Huyck); Porky Pig in Hollywood (Avery)

1988

Daffy Duck's Quackbusters (Ford); Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (Zemeckis); The Night of the Living Duck

1989

Entertaining the Troops (Mugge)

1990

Jetsons: The Movie (Hanna)



Publications


By BLANC: book—


That's Not All Folks: My Life in the Golden Age of Cartoons and Radio, New York, 1988.


On BLANC: books—

Christman, Trent, Brass Button Broadcasters: A Lighthearted Look at Fifty Years of Military Broadcasting, Paducah, 1992.


On BLANC: articles—

Films in Review (New York), vol. 13, no. 1, January 1962.

Obituary in Hollywood Reporter, vol. 308, no. 18, 11 July 1989.

Obituary in, Variety (New York), 12 July 1989.

Classic Images (Muscatine, Iowa), no. 170, August 1989, and see also no. 173, November 1989.

TV Guide (London), vol. 38, no. 27, 7 July 1990.

Catsos, G. J.M., "A Master of Animated Art: Chuck Jones," in Filmfax (Evanston), August/September 1992.


* * *

Mel Blanc's vocal talents are so universally known that he seems a little strange, adrift almost, in that handful of feature films—Neptune's Daughter, Kiss Me Stupid—or archive TV shows—The Jack Benny Show—in which he appears live. A pudgy comic actor very unlike the wiry cartoon creatures he voiced, he could well lay claim to being one of the most versatile performers in the cinema for his contributions to the marvellous characterizations—engineered, of course, by animator-directors like Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Frank Tashlin, Robert McKimson and Friz Freleng—of a fifty-year run of cartoons, from Picador Porky in 1937 to Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and The Duxorcist in 1988. Often playing against himself—as in the incredible confrontations between Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck or Bugs and Yosemite Sam—Blanc created, adapted and incarnated the voices of an unparalleled run of Warner Brothers characters—Porky Pig and Elmer Fudd are just about the only major characters he didn't originate, and he swiftly took over Porky from Joe Dougherty—keeping them consistent even when, as in Duck Amuck, almost everything about their physical form was in a constant state of flux.

The jewels of Blanc's career are the sustained film-to-film performances as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Sylvester P. Pussycat. Bugs is the archetypal Warner Bros. character, a snarling, wise-talking urban rabbit who stands next to Disney's cute animal tykes as Humphrey Bogart does to Shirley Temple. Permanently chomping on a carrot and sneering "nyahh, what's up doc?" at hapless opponents, Bugs is, even more than Mickey Mouse, the great versatile creation of the cartoon short, at home in any historical period or geographical locale—emerging from a tunnel in a Mexican bullring or the Abominable Snowman-haunted Himalayas, he can fish out a map and muse "I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque"—and the equal of any bullying hunter, predator, rabbit chef, monster or do-badder in sight, without ever seeming, as Mighty Mouse does, like a moralizing twit. Daffy and Sylvester are subtler achievements, especially considering that they started out with exactly the same lisp: Daffy the money-grubbing coward, doomed to horrible failure in every enterprise, hopelessly outclassed by the smarts of Bugs ("you're dethpicable!") or the natural innocence of Porky or Elmer, occasionally prone to fits of absolute raving insanity, ridiculously miscast in the hero roles (Duck Dodgers in the 241/2th Century, Robin Hood Daffy) he insists Jack Warner give him; Sylvester the hopeless carnivore without the heart to consume his prey ("suffering succotash"), eternally the victim of the sinisterly benign Tweety Pie or the deceptively sweet-looking Grandma, sometimes (as in the sublime Birds Anonymous) desperately at odds with his own hunger-fuelled nature, or even stuck with the role reversal (Snow Business) of being at odds in a snowbound cabin with a mouse so hungry he wants to eat a cat.

Besides this trio of masterful characterizations, Blanc also managed to pull off a succession of one-joke creatures, helping them last beyond their debut appearances into modest series of their own: Pepe le Pew, a Charles Boyer-cum-Maurice Chevalier voiced romantic skunk whose bizarre French expressions prefigure Inspector Clouseau ("ahh, la belle femme skunque fatale"); Foghorn Leghorn, a Southern rooster always eager to give unwanted advice to others as he struts around the yard; Wile E. Coyote, in his rare speaking roles as he abandons his pursuit of the Road Runner to try, unwisely, for a substitute diet of Bugs Bunny; Marvin the Martian, the strangle-voiced Thing From Another World who wants to disintegrate Earth to make room for a freeway; Barney Rubble, Fred Flintstone's bumbling neighbor, doubling also as the voice of Dino the Dinosaur; Woody Woodpecker, devising the voice and laugh and then passing them on to a succession of others when an exclusive contract with Warners prevented him from continuing with Walter Lantz; the Tasmanian Devil, inarticulate but a furiously munching fiend, appetite incarnate; Speedy Gonzalez, the one-gag mouse with the perky Mexican accent; and Yosemite Sam, "the blood-thirstiest, shoot-'em firstiest, goshdarn worstiest bandit North, South, East and West of the Pecos!," originally a pint-sized cowboy with a huge moustache but later a pirate or a black knight.

Cartoons are essentially driven by sight gags, sometimes to the extent of throwing in captions to the pictures, but Warners also believed in a riot of sound. This was exemplified not only by Blanc's many voices—gaining him sole credit even on cartoons where the likes of Stan Freberg did some of the work—but also by Carl W. Stalling's ferocious and furious orchestral accompaniment. Some of Blanc's greatest moments find him bursting into song, in the mock-Wagnerian shenanigans of What's Opera, Doc? or The Rabbit of Seville, not to mention Bugs' occasional bursts of "What Do They Do in a Rainy Night in Rio?" or "Singing in the Bathtub," and he also scored novelty hits with "I'm Glad to Be Bugs Bunny," "The Woody Woodpecker Song" and, immortally, "I Tort I Taw a Putty Tat."

—Kim Newman

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Mel Blanc

Mel Blanc

Known in Hollywood as "The Man of a Thousand Voices," Mel Blanc (1908-1989) was the versatile cartoon voice creator of such unforgettable characters as Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, and Daffy Duck.

Blanc's voices have become standard-bearers for American popular culture throughout the world, heard, by some estimates, by more than 20 million people every day. Each of his characters is distinctive and many developed a trademark line that became famous, like "I tawt I taw a puddy tat!" (Tweety), "What's up, Doc?" (Bugs Bunny), "Thhhhufferin' Thhhhuccotash!" (Sylvester), and "Beep-beep!" (Road Runner). Blanc did the majority of his work for Warner Bros., performing in over 3,000 cartoons for that studio in a career that spanned more than 50 years, but he also worked for other animated film makers and as a memorable radio actor.

Porky Born

Born in 1908 and growing up in Portland, Oregon, Blanc studied music, becoming proficient on the bass, violin, and sousaphone. But he discovered a more amazing instrument in his own voice. "I used to look at animals and wonder, how would that kitten sound if it could talk," he said in the New York Times. " I'd tighten up my throat and make a very small voice, not realizing I was rehearsing." After marrying and working for a short time as a radio actor, Blanc moved to Los Angeles and joined Leon Schlesinger Productions, a cartoon workshop that eventually developed the Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies characters for Warner Bros. While playing the part of a drunken bull in "Porky Picador," Blanc relates in his autobiography That'sNot All Folks, the actor who was then portraying Porky actually did stutter. When Blanc was later asked to play Porky, he left the stutter in the act, and his first major character was born. Blanc next developed the character who was to become his favorite, Happy Hare, in another Warner Bros. short. He lent a brash, Bronx accent to the wiseguy rabbit that eventually became Bugs Bunny. "He's a little stinker," Blanc told the New York Times. "That's why people love him. He does what most people would like to do but don't have the guts to do." More famous characters followed, including Pepe LePew, Wile E. Coyote, Elmer Fudd, Speedy Gonzales, and Yosemite Sam.

Branches Out

Despite his proficiency, Blanc did not own the rights to any of his characters and never earned more than $20,000 in a single year from Warner Bros., so he, was forced to pursue other activities. In the 1960s he was co-producer and voice animator for ABC's "The Bugs Bunny Show," a Saturday morning series that featured Looney Tunes characters in new cartoons designed for television. He also provided the voices for Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone's pet dinosaur, Dino, for the first prime-time cartoon series, "The Flintstones." Through the years, Blanc also kept up his work in radio, primarily as an actor and special effects creator for "The Jack Benny Show," on which he portrayed Benny's mexican gardener, Sy; his violin teacher, Mr. LeBlanc; his wise-cracking parrot; and his pet polar bear. Blanc also formed his own company to produce radio and television advertising. His last cartoon contribution came in the popular 1988 mixed-animation film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," in which he performed the voices of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety, and Porky Pig. In assessing why his characters have become so endearing to all age-groups, Blanc told the New York Times: " What we tried to do was amuse ourselves. We didn't make pictures for children. We didn't make pictures for adults. We made them for ourselves." Mel Blanc died in 1989.

Further Reading

Chicago Tribune, July 11, 1989.

New York Times, July 11, 1989. □

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